Joshin' Around: An Offensive Head Coach Could Mean Trouble for Denver Broncos

Josh VitaleCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2009

As we all know by now, on Dec. 30, 2008, Pat Bowlen shook the foundation of the entire NFL landscape.


Just one day after the no-surprise firings of the Jets’ Eric Mangini, the Lions’ Rod Marinelli, and the Browns’ Romeo Crennel, long time Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan was fired, ending his 14-year tenure in Denver.


Since this time, the Broncos have held interviews with seven head coaching candidates: Giants defensive coordinator (DC) Steve Spagnuolo, Patriots offensive coordinator (OC) Josh McDaniels, Buccaneers DC Raheem Morris, Cowboys OC Jason Garrett, Broncos OC Rick Dennison, Vikings DC Leslie Frazier, and Dolphins assistant head coach Todd Bowles.


At the conclusion of these interviews, McDaniels and Frazier are rumored to be the favorites for the job.


The question now is this: will the Broncos choose offense, or defense?


If history is any indication, the Broncos will choose offense.  The two longest tenured head coaches in Broncos history, Dan Reeves and Mike Shanahan, began their careers as offensive assistants before moving their way up to head coach. 


So why does history say the Broncos will go offense?  Because in the 25 years that Bowlen has owned the Broncos, those two offensive-minded guys coached all but two of them.


And if this trend continues, the Broncos may be in trouble in 2009.


The Broncos finished second in total offense in 2008, and were more than likely one healthy running back away from being number one.


On top of that, the Broncos have one of the better offensive coaching staffs in the league, with veteran offensive coordinator Rick Dennison running the show and Jeremy Bates, one of the NFL’s hottest young assistants, calling the plays.


Now I’m no expert, but doesn’t it seem like the offense was not the issue this season?


It wasn’t.


The issue was the defense, which finished the season ranked 29th in the league, ahead of only the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Lions.


On top of that, the defensive coaching staff of the Broncos has struggled mightily, as they have had three different defensive coordinators in the past three seasons.


When taking this information into consideration, it seems like the only head coaching candidates should be Spagnuolo, Morris, and Frazier.


And if Frazier and McDaniels are the favorites, then Frazier should be offered the job as soon as possible.




The Broncos were dynamic on offense, averaging over 395 yards per game, second only to the New Orleans Saints.  On defense, however, the Broncos were atrocious, giving up over 370 yards per game.


So who should be hired?


Well, the Broncos are more than likely going to fire defensive coordinator Bob Slowik.  So if McDaniels is hired, the Broncos still have no direction on defense.


If Frazier is hired, the Broncos instantly gain a direction on defense, as Frazier’s defense was sixth in the NFL this season.


It makes perfect sense.  When Shanahan was fired, Bowlen made it clear that he intended on hiring a head coach and a general manager, as well as revamping the entire defensive staff.


Hiring a defensive head coach would make Bowlen’s job much easier.  Surely Frazier can bring in a guy from his staff in Minnesota to run the defense in Denver.


And seeing as McDaniels is the offensive coordinator in New England, the likelihood of him having a defensive coordinator on his staff is about zero.


Do the math, Mr. Bowlen.  Leslie Frazier is the guy.




Keep looking out for future editions of “Joshing Around.”


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